Question: How do I take the plunge?

Johnny asks…

How do I figure out if I really am trans like I believe myself to be? How do I take the plunge?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on August 17th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 18 comments »

18 Responses to “Question: How do I take the plunge?”

  1. Matthew

    …Okay, I am a strong believer in the ‘if YOU think you are, you probably are’ school of thought, because hell, who knows you better than you, but how about this: try using the appropriate pronouns for yourself, even just in your head. Yes, this means thinking about yourself in the third person. Then try thinking of yourself with the pronouns that most people use to refer to you. What makes you feel better? Not which is the most familiar, which is the best? I know when I was first coming out, someone using male pronouns for me could brighten my whole day.

    …Or you could think ‘why do I think that I am trans’, and end up thinking yourself into circles for trying to quantify something that is not quantifiable.


  2. Danny

    If you think you’re trans, you’re trans.

    If you’re not sure, you might not “figure out” until you “take the plunge” into whatever that means, like playing with your gender presentation.


  3. Janus

    I feel like I’m thinking myself in circles about this as well. I wish I could just have an “Aha!” moment and know for certain.

    Not sure what I’d do next, though.


  4. Maximillian

    For me it was when I told my gp and got a psych referral to get it all sorted. It’s really about your feelings, but sometimes saying it in an official sense takes a weight off about it.


  5. Rebecca

    I never really considered it until earlier this year (I’m 36) when I wanted to stop being afraid to admit that I liked crossdressing. That’s when I started finding so much information that I wasn’t alone and it wasn’t going to change who I am. If you think you are, you probably are, but it is a huge spectrum of gender and there are no requirements.


  6. Milo

    I think that that little voice in your head will continue to plague you with doubt until you just take the plunge. At least that’s how it always has been for me. Once I started using feminine pronouns (and feminine adjectives when I speak spanish) even in my head I know very quickly that I was right and should never have doubted myself.

    Never let yourself continue to think in circles (unless your a philosophy professor and your job depends on it). You’ll never get anywhere that way!


  7. manny

    i’ve been struggling with the same question as well and i don’t know what to do about it. i like it when people use male pronoums for me, there’s no doubt about that. but i sometimes think i only like it because i think it’s funny when people try to apologize and correct themselves, i dont know, one day i might figure it out


  8. Cat

    I’d say that “taking the plunge” is just a matter of doing what you want with regard to gender. It can be really difficult, especially in the face of societal disapproval, but try to listen to and obey your heart. Do you want to wear cross-gendered clothing? Try out an androgynous nickname? Consider sex-reassignment surgery? Do whatever makes you happy, and realize that that might look different from what other trans people do.

    “Am I trans?” is a tricky question. Start by exploring what makes you happy, and then try to find a way to be comfortable doing that. You may wind up embracing “transgendered” or “transsexual” or “cross-dresser” or any number of other labels, or none at all.

    Try things out and see what you like—it might be a trial-and-error process. Just trust what your heart tells you and remember you’re not alone!


  9. XylophoneGender

    When it comes to labels they can often feel intimidating, oppressively permanent. It may be helpful to remind yourself that the words you use to describe yourself are only as set in stone as you want them to be. Perhaps you’re looking for one big plunge, but perhaps some medium-sized steps would be easier to conquer. Not knowing what your version of trans is or what steps you’ve already taken, I probably can’t give too many helpful concrete answers.


  10. Shana

    I got called ma’am the other day and it was a great feeling. Some of my friends get upset when I wear nail polish (all the time–even at work) and makeup whenever I go out. It’s been a long slow process to be even sort of accepted as I am–somewhere between trans and androgyn. My girlfriend loves me so all is well.


  11. elias

    when i started researching trans identities for my job as director of a collegiate lgbtqqia resource center i realized i had finally found the words to describe myself. i fought with myself needlessly for a few months before i started binding. months after that i had my big ‘ah ha’ moment after ‘performing’ in our yearly drag show and started asking for masculine pronouns shortly thereafter. i include all this to say that whatever pace you choose to explore your identity will be right for you. you don’t need to explode out of the closet if you don’t want to and you certainly have the right to test out different identities through your life.

    good luck!


  12. Jessica

    It rather depends on your situation in the real world. Can you just gradually integrate trans-ness into your life or is it an all or nothing thing for you? Who will notice and who will object? Will you get fired? Will your SO disown you and take your kids to protect them from you?

    If you have understanding, open-minded friends and SO (TALK TO THEM), then do what you feel comfortable doing as it happens. Many people go through a phase of wanting to be in everybody’s face with their trans-ness. If that’s you, then recognize that this is going to piss a lot of people off and you’re going to have to find a new niche once you’ve burned all those bridges.

    I am also one of those people who believes that if you think you are trans, you’re trans… but people change. I have not known anyone who became completely un-trans having once been trans, but I am prepared for that eventuality – maybe you’re that person… but be careful. Be kind. Discovering trans-ness in you is not a license for selfishness, nor is it a passport to some kind of moral entitlement. pigs is pigs and people is people, trans or not.

    Like elias said, experiment – find yourself and keep an open mind about yourself. Be prepared for change and relax and enjoy the ride.


  13. Lexi

    Trial and error; try it on for size and se if it fits.

    Gender and self are non-quantifiable.


  14. Peython

    I’m checking out the same thing right now, and I feel ready to take said plunge, which for me means coming out to everyone (I’m out to my parents and my closest friends) and dressing how I want to, and probably taking T and getting top surgery. I just don’t have the proper situation to do so. All I can do thus far is dress, and apparently look like an 11-year old paper boy. :P But you should examine the situation. If your mother will commit suicide if you are out to everyone (like mine said ze would) you should wait until you have the opportunity to not tell hir you’re out. (i.e. college – if you move out for it) So, assess the situation, and take as much plunge as is possible, or to the degree you want (as much as is possible).


  15. Sean

    Do something about it. I’m not sure what you mean by “the plunge,” but tell someone. Get people to use what you think are the right pronouns. Maybe even start taking the first steps to start hormones or get surgery. (With regards to the medical stuff, I mean get blood tests and things, or contact doctors. Do NOT actually go through with anything until you ARE certain.) Just please don’t sit around wondering, because nothing useful will come of that without some sort of action.

    I knew someone who thought she was transgendered, but eventually realized she was a butch woman. But she couldn’t figure that out until she’d explored several different avenues.

    Read people’s stories. There’s plenty on the internet, and some in books. See what seems familiar, and what seems different. That is a TOOL; do NOT feel that you are/aren’t something just because most people of an identity appear to have a certain trait.


  16. Renae Ann

    Working through this is really important…
    How does anyone really know anything???

    For me, rationally, it just didn’t make sense to say “I am _she_” – my male body, every morning, just shows otherwise.
    But as my therapist has pointed out, I can trust my perceptions. And my perception of my self is that I am a girl.
    But it certainly doesn’t _always_ feel that clear. It often feels muddy and confusing. But that doesn’t make it any less real.
    I had a friend recently say to me something to the effect, “you know you can just quit praying that God will make your a girl. Your prayer was answered a long time ago. You are one.”
    To but it bluntly, it is not a hallucination to know your gender.
    Is transition something you think you’d like to find out more about? Something you think you may want to do?
    What is it Yoda say’s?, “There is no ‘try’, only ‘do'”.
    And if he didn’t say that, he should have :)

    Find a sympathetic therapist who is willing to get you started on the road to transition. Don’t wait. It will _always_ be too soon for you to transition with some of the people you know.
    And it will look different for each of us, just what that path is. You will grow into that person you were meant to be. Some things will be really really hard. But let me just say about that, that not transitioning is really really hard too…. and to know the joy of wholeness is a wonderful jewel that I would give _anything_ to possess.

    For me, “Trans” is not an end in itself…. it is a beginning……


  17. William

    If you’re asking the question, you’re well on your way to a better understandingof yourself, whether you’re rtans or cis, male, female or something else.

    The question isn’t “What does itmean to be male?” (or female or whatever) but “What does it mean to me to be male? How would things be for me if I were male? Is male something I want to try to express and how would I express it?” It’s a difficult question to answer but, beleive me, there are no wrong answers.


  18. Jenn

    as one of my favorites, Dr. Seuss, once said: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple”

    I think this fits gender issues very well. It’s not a ‘plunge’, necessarily, but a journey of self discovery with an infinite end. While many people search in an attempt to ‘find themselves’, I think the entire journey of life is to constantly explore oneself and find happiness.

    It is far easier said than done, but you have two choices right now:

    DO something. Dress in gender-appropriate clothing based on what you think your trans-ness is. Figure out where you are comfortable. If it doesn’t have a label, don’t sweat it.

    Wonder for years (like I did) and wind up wishing you could have 10 years of your life back because you were too worried about being wrong, being disowned, or being trans in the first place.

    Good luck.


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